demons & possessions

[TV Review] Supernatural Season 12 (2016) ★★★★★

Dean, Sam and Mary Winchester in Supernatural season 12

Supernatural expands the family business with dire consequences.


The twelfth season of Supernatural is all about family. The eleventh season ended with a godly family reunion but also had a cliffhanger that could lead to a Winchester family reunion. That makes this season the most earthly and grounded season yet, where the supernatural evils and monsters take a little step aside for the earthbound Men of Letters, and Mary. While the supernatural will of course sneak back into their lives. With a lot of different kinds of friction within the family, the question if evil is born or raised and a lot of monsters and ghosts finding their way to Sam and Dean to keep them occupied. This is going the be a full road trip with action, humor, drama and a brand new story arc.  

This twelfth season consists of 23 episodes with each a duration of 42 minutes. It has a continuous story arc about Mary, new developments and monster-of-the-week episodes. 


Plot

After God/Chuck and his sister Amara/The Darkness resolved their differences and took off to catch up their lost time, they left earth and humanity behind. But not without Amara giving a gift to Dean for helping her to find peace. She brought Mary Winchester back from the dead. 

While Dean is tracking Mary down in the woods, Sam and Cass get attacked in the bunker and Lucifer is missing. Sam is held prisoner by Lady Bevell of the British Men of Letters, who came to America to recruit hunters. Freeing Sam is going to be Mary’s first mission  and together with Dean and Cass she succeeds. Meanwhile they meet Mick Davies the head of the British division of Men of Letters and his hitman Mr Ketch, the former making Mary an offer, which she later accepts.

But this British division has a sinister plan. And they’re not the only ones, because Lucifer has escaped and has to find a new purpose in life, now his issues with his father God are resolved. Which are in fact not. So he wants revenge, breaking all of his father’s toys; humans and earth. So he jumps into the body of the president, impregnates his assistant and mistress Kelly, creating a Nephilim that grows inside Kelly.  


Why you should watch it

Supernatural has always been about the ultimate battle between good and evil. But along the way, it became less and less clear what good is and what evil is. People, even monsters, demons or angels aren’t mere good or evil. It became more and more apparent that there’s a big grey area, and that good people can do bad things and that even demons can do good things. This season explores this even further by going back to the roots of it all: is good or evil a nature or nurture thing?

It’s also all about family. Mary is back, but when she died, Sam was still a baby and Dean a kid. Now they are all grown up and became hunters, something that Mary never wanted for them. Sam is overjoyed, because he never knew her like Dean and Dean is overwhelmed. Mary is overwhelmed too, but for a much sadder reason, heaven was a beautiful and peaceful place where she was ripped from and everything is so different now. She also struggles with her own part in creating this life that Sam and Dean now lead, by once making the deal with Azazel that set everything into motion. But that’s not entirely true, as is shown in the last episodes. For now this friction eventually leads to an emotional scene between Mary and Dean and we get to see a whole new side of him. 

The monsters Sam and Dean have to fight are more human than ever. Mr Ketch is a ruthless assassin without any scruples. They have freed Britain from monsters because of their effective but questionable methods, treating every creature that isn’t human or animal as a monster, and they even kill innocent people if they stand in their way. Of course after all these years in the family business Sam and Dean know that good and evil aren’t at all that simple concepts. 

Lucifer stirs things up on his own. Wanting to get revenge and taking it out on humanity. But while being a human, he enjoys feeling as well, making himself more human, although he still is Lucifer with his old tricks. He still has daddy issues, but when he finds out that he is going to be a father, he wants to be a good father. 

Rowena being scared of Lucifer due to her troubled past with him and Crowley who teams up with Cass as special agents Beyonce and Agent Z, make it their mission to find Lucifer and put him back in his cage. While Cass is the grumpy one, Crowley really enjoys himself and he is on a roll making one sarcastic fun remark after the other. Meanwhile we learn more about Cass’ past and that this Nephilim that is about to be born, isn’t the first one. Rowena is a bundle of cynical and witty joy. She lightens up every scene she’s in and her character has really evolved in a very short time. 

Due to the British Men of Letters we get to know more hunters but also more good monsters who Sam and Dean have to protect and warn them about the Men of Letters. Jody and her girls Claire and Alex also play a big part. Like Sam and Dean most hunters are family. That’s the main theme in this season. This is handled with care and more depth. There’s guilt and sacrifice, friction and choosing your own path. But in the end family comes first. 

The other main theme is about evil being born or created and shows a meta-perspective on the Supernatural universe itself, about what the family business entails. This leads Cass on a new path, helping Kelly who believes her baby is good, which Cass also believes and who wants to act as his father to keep him on the path of good. This ultimately leads to a spectacular finale where an alternate dimension is revealed without Sam and Dean in it. Where the Apocalypse did take place and resulted in a wasteland. 

But before all of this creates a whole new story arc, there are some other adventures to take care of. Ghosts, but also Billie the Reaper shows up. They are being held in a state prison. They help a psychic girl. The Thule are back and Dean kills Hitler. A woman who can kill Angels. Dean loses his memory due to a spell, which results in a hilarious episode, with Rowena. They have to defeat the Princes of Hell, Ramiel and Dagon. They have to deal with vampires who are hunted down, a hellhound, a werewolf, the urban legend Black Bill and Moloch the demon. 

This twelfth season of Supernatural is full of humor, action, a lot of different storylines that all come together, interesting themes and tragedy. It’s perfectly balanced out, and every character creates a new typical vibe. The new team reinforced by Mary, Crowley and Rowena are not all that reliable for Sam, Dean and Cass, but that makes it all the more interesting and fun. 


My favorite part

When Rowena first showed up in the tenth season I didn’t like her at all. I thought she was annoying and didn’t fit into the story. But now, I really do love her. Her character is a great addition to Supernatural. She’s feisty, fierce, girly, a bit naughty, and although she seems selfish, she does have a good side. Her part in helping Sam and Dean has now become something they can’t do without. Witchcraft itself might be gross, but it really does come in handy. Rowena has great knowledge and power that make her indispensable. She’s fun and a flirt and is cause for a lot of laughs.

But so are Cass and Crowley when they have to work together to find Lucifer. They pose as FBI special agents, Cass being agent Beyonce and Crowley special agent Z. That in itself is hilarious, but those two together isn’t what you would ever have expected. That’s what makes this series so much fun, the story arcs, the mythology and the characters, they all grow and evolve into something you didn’t see coming. Supernatural reinvents itself each season to create more fun and drama and supernatural epic adventures. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Epic factor: ★★★★★

Scare factor: ★★★☆☆

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Read more about Supernatural:


Cast and crew

Supernatural is created by Erik Kripke. It stars Jared Padalecki (Sam), Jensen Ackles (Dean), Misha Collins (Castiel), Mark Sheppard (Crowley), Kim Rhodes (Jody Mills), Briana Buckmaster (Donna Hanscum), Ruth Connell (Rowena McLeod), Samantha Smith (Mary), Courtney Ford (Kelly Kline), and David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch)

Music: Christopher Lennertz, Jay Gruska. Cinematography: Serge Ladouceur. Production company: Kripke Enterprises, Warner Bros. Television, Wonderland Sound and Vision, Supernatural Films. Original Network: The CW.


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